Antioxidants: Eat All Your Colors!
Antioxidants are all the rage today. And, justifiably so. Antioxidants help
neutralize free radicals which cause cell damage, which ultimately can lead to
diseases of the heart and cancer. It seems everywhere you go its blueberry this
and blueberry that. You have your choice of wild blueberry juice,
blueberry-pomegranate juice, blueberry-cranberry juice and so on and so on.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love blueberries. But, in our rush to embrace the
latest antioxidant food craze (blueberries, cranberries, pomegranates) we’re
ignoring some very high-antioxidant foods that are probably sitting ignored in
“What?” You ask, “What could possibly be higher in antioxidants than my beloved
wild blueberry?” Well, how about the small red bean? That’s right, I said
“bean.” The small red bean actually has more antioxidants per serving size than
the wild blueberry. And the red kidney bean and pinto bean have more
antioxidants per serving size than a serving of cultivated blueberries.
What other foods are high in antioxidants? For starters, there are artichoke
hearts, blackberries, prunes, pecans, spinach, kale, russet potatoes and plums.
And, no, that’s not a mistake. Russet potatoes are on the list of foods high in
The truth is, there are many common foods high in antioxidants and you should
not just restrict yourself to one particular food source. Why? Well, have you
ever heard the expression, “eat your colors?” That refers to the fact that foods
are in different color “families” containing different types of antioxidants
which have different benefits. For example, the yellow-orange color family of
peaches and nectarines help our immune systems. The purple-red color family of
foods (pomegranates, plums, berries) helps reduce inflammation. It’s important
to eat foods from all color groups to reap the full benefits of antioxidants.
The good news is that you can eat healthy foods high in antioxidants (by eating
them raw, cooking them, or juicing them yourself) without having to pay a high
price for the “flavor of the month” antioxidant juices being peddled in the
So, give your blueberries some company at the dinner table. Invite some beans,
spinach, potatoes and artichoke hearts and enjoy your antioxidants!